You choose which political party you belong to; you don’t choose your sexuality. Sure, on the face of it, that’s one hell of an obvious statement to make. It being obvious doesn’t make it any more devastatingly true, and as we hear that Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) is opposed to the Employment Nondiscrimination Act — or ENDA for short — that point comes even more sharply into focus.
The purpose of ENDA is to set a Federal mandate that no person can be fired simply on the basis of their orientation. ENDA, then, is basically an “anti-ewww” law; meaning that even if you’re one of the ever-shrinking minorities of people who just can’t fathom two dudes or two women having willing sexual intercourse with each other, you can’t fire anyone based on that lack of higher-level thinking you possess. It’s not a shock then that the conservative Republican Speaker is against ENDA, because why would a party that’s the most unpopular it’s ever been try and do anything about their reputation for being uncaring, unevolved sociopaths, right?
According to Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel, the reason El Naranjo Baracho is opposed to ENDA is that he “believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.” So to Speaker Boehner, a person being fired for simply being gay who then sues their employer over it is being “frivolous.” It makes you wonder if he thinks an African-American, Asian, or Hispanic person who was terminated from their job simply on the basis of the color of their skin would have a right to file a lawsuit, or if that too would be “frivolous” of them to do so, but then again he’s a modern day Republican so we kind of already know the answer to that one, don’t we?
Maybe, though, Boehner and company just need a taste of their own medicine. If the Speaker and his party think that an employer should be allowed to fire anyone at any time for anything, how about we remove all anti-discrimination laws?…and I mean all of them. You know that preachy douche in accounting that’s always complaining about how Obama is ruining our country? You can fire him now. Just fire him. Tell him you don’t think his morality jives with yours and therefore you are cutting off his livelihood.
Fair is fair, right Speaker Boehner? If the idea is that the vaunted employer should be insulated from “frivolous” lawsuits, shouldn’t we protect against white, conservative Christian Republicans filing “frivolous” lawsuits after they get terminated for being white, Conservative Christian Republicans — or any variation thereof? It seems to me that Boehner and his crew would adore this proposition of mine. After all, as Mittens Q. Romneytron said way too much last year, “What’s sauce of the goose is sauce for the gander,” right, Republicans?
Of course, the reality is that if we started floating this idea the right-wing in this country would become so deafening in its bleating of “freedom of religion,” invoking the First Amendment to our Constitution — which they’ve generally ignored for decades as it doesn’t involve guns — every chance they get. Believe it or not though, it would actually be a sound conservative position to take — that the already established paradigm of a society with no innate biases or discrimination against any religious organization would trump such a law allowing people to be fired for their religious beliefs, and the same would be true for political ideologies.
So what makes gay people so special then, to the Republicans, and more specifically to the ideologically-entrenched House Republicans, to whom Speaker Boehner is capitulating to by opposing ENDA? After all, both religion and politics are two things that one has an active role in deciding for themselves, being a homosexual is not. The truth of course is something very simple. Socially conservative Republicans think it’s their duty to infect — er, sorry — inject our government with as much theocratic nonsense as possible. There is not a single argument in favor of continued systemic discrimination against members of the LGBT community that isn’t mostly rooted in a fundamentalist’s interpretation of the Christian Bible. Of course, they were invoking the same kind of divine powers when arguing against desegregating schools and allowing interracial marriage, so this is truly a “rinse and repeat” situation, but that’s neither here nor there to the people who believe they have God’s will driving their bigotry.
Remember how the Republican Party did that big, extensive postmortem on their 2012 election efforts to try and figure out what they could do to win over new voters and resuscitate their party’s hopes of ever occupying the White House again? It was called the “Growth and Opportunity Plan,” and it was supposed to show the Republicans a way forward. Many of the recommendations were essentially to not change their values, but to change their message. Apparently Speaker Boehner, and presumably many of his fellow Republicans in the House didn’t feel like doing either.
The undeniable truth is that those who continue to prop up outdated social mores like “it’s okay to hate on the gays” are just as behind the times and on the losing side of history as those who said “it’s okay to own the blacks,” or “it’s okay to keep women off the voting rolls.” In fifty years Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Michele Bachmann will look no different than Jesse Helms, George Wallace or Strom Thurmond. None of this makes it easier to watch them act like cold, uncaring, unevolved bastards to a segment of the population that has been pushed down and marginalized for far too long, though, which is why a dose of their own medicine would be so sweet.
Since we can’t give them that dose and just start randomly firing conservative Republicans all over the country for no other reason than their religious or political views, the rest of us have other forms of recourse — mainly our votes. The truth is that the tides of change often move slowly, and there’s a reason why it took Mississippi 148 years to ratify the 13th Amendment that ended slavery in our country forever. That reason is that human evolution, particularly societal evolution, moves at a maddeningly slow pace, but that doesn’t mean progress isn’t going to happen.
In the meantime, solace can be found in the simple fact that at the same time that John Boehner was putting the kibosh on ENDA in the House; the Senate actually passed the bill on a 61-30 margin, meaning that seven Republican Senators actually voted in favor of the bill. While the overwhelming majority of the elephants still slumped along on the path of the status quo, at least enough of them saw the light of day to get cloture on the bill and push it over one major hurdle.
Maybe ENDA will die on the vine in the House, but progressives can comfort themselves knowing that it’s not going to be long before the majority in the House turns blue again. As much as the press and the GOP have been touting the falling popularity numbers President Obama has been seeing lately, the truth is that the GOP’s are still far, far below his own. And when the current technical problems that are plaguing the ACA’s websites are finally fixed, the main reason Obama’s numbers have been falling will vanish, but the Republicans in the House, with all their anti-populist, anti-growth, anti-women, anti-minority, anti-LGBT actions won’t, and moderates don’t like ideologues.
Still, wouldn’t you love to see the look on Boehner’s face when you tell him you fired his golfing buddy just because you saw his Romney/Ryan 2012 bumper sticker…just once?